Ellie Mirman's Startup Marketing Blog

Humility Is More Than a Value, It's a Strategy

Posted by Ellie Mirman

Nov 11, 2013

Humility has always been one of my company's core cultural values. But just recently I realized that it's also a strategy for growth. Humility, in a work context, brings:

  • focus on delivering value long term
  • ruthless prioritization of what's most important to the company
  • willingness to listen to others' ideas that might seem crazy
  • comfort in working with people who are better than you
  • evaluation based on objective measurement rather than gut feel
  • willingness to restart when something you've created doesn't work in a new context
  • detachment from one's ideas to focus on whoever's ideas that will bring the best results

We've all worked with the opposite - the egotistical coworker who:

  • insists on working on their own ideas because they're best
  • insists on working on their own ideas even when data shows they should stop
  • doesn't take any input, feedback, or criticism from others
  • makes an argument without backing it up
  • is threatened by people smarter than s/he
  • takes all the credit
  • doesn't test because s/he already came up with the best idea

In this awesome talk, Chamath (early Facebook employee) speaks about a lot of this in regards to hiring for the right culture. It turns out culture is more than just a recruiting and retention strategy - it's a growth strategy. To have a culture truly focused on growth, you need to eliminate ego and have people focused solely on creating something awesome.

So often, the question for people who have grown successful companies is "what did you do?" but really the question should be "how did you think about it?" because there is no magic pill for growth. Rather, it takes an approach that involves testing and measuring constantly. And humility greases those wheels.

Humble teams cut BS and deliver impressive results.

Topics: leadership

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